How to Make Sure Your Baby Ready for Potty Training

By: Morgan Hallen

Children develop at different rates, so if the first question you wanted this guide to answer for you was “At what age should I potty train my child?” then I am afraid I cannot tell you – and if they are truly honest neither can anybody else on the planet! Some girl or boys will have developed the muscle control required to be successfully potty trained by 18 months, but many may be closer to 3 years, or even over it when they are finally fully ready to go through the process. All the so-called expert advice I have researched to write this book seems to fall into an age gap between 18 months and 2 years – but many children simply aren’t ready then so put simply the age is irrelevant, the key question should be ‘Are you both ready to do this?’

Potty training simply cannot be achieved until the child has reached a level of physical development to be able to control both their bladder and their bowel movements and a whole host of other indicators to show they are emotionally, physically, and cognitively ready to potty train. So, as this varies considerably from child to child my first top tip to you is this – no comparisons with anybody else! Your child is an individual. You as a parent are an individual – so what works for anyone else may not, and probably will not work for you. It is why I will not be boring you with too many tales of super mums and dads who got their revoltingly young children potty trained in record time – who needs that kind of pressure before you have even started? What I am going to give you is how to know you are ready, how to do it once you are, and some useful stuff to get you through it.

Just because your best friend’s child was potty trained at exactly two years, doesn’t mean that your child will be ready to achieve the same thing. They may be ready earlier, or later – the important thing is don’t panic, do not get caught up in trying to ‘Keep up with the Jones’s’ and do it when you both feel ready.

What to look for to make sure your child is ready and raring to go are:

• That they are over 18months. This makes it considerably more likely that the will have in place the muscular control required for bladder and bowel control. This is important as otherwise you will have more accidents than successes and that is disheartening for you both. Nobody likes feeling like a failure, and it can really put a dampener on morale and the whole process. Your toddler really does need to be able to be dry for periods of at least 2 hours before you get started and if they aren’t managing that yet then simply do not consider potty training until they can.

• That their diaper is often dry after a nap, or if it has been a couple of hours since their last change. This is a key indicator that their bladder muscles in particular are strong enough to hold urine for a period of time. You don’t want to be spending months having to scamper back and forth to the toilet every ten minutes – so wait until this crucial 2 hour window has been reached.

• That they have awareness that they are having a pee or a poop – maybe they go quiet, or pull a face, or point to their diaper when they are done. Once your toddler is showing awareness of their bodily functions they are going to find it easier to understand the simple prompts and questions you will be giving them about needing to go. Try to talk to them about this, make talking about their bodily functions a normal and natural part of the day and see if you can get them to start to tell you when they think they might need to go. There should be no pressure at this stage, or any stage, but this gaining of awareness can be a real boon later on.

• That they can follow simple instructions, like fetching a special toy, or putting them away when asked. This is an absolute essential. If you have a child who is good at undertaking tasks, and enjoys being useful, wanting to make you happy and proud they will probably be eager to take on a new skill. If they aren’t so keen try using a star chart and some positive reinforcement to try and get them to get a bit more involved and understand that it is good to do as they are asked. There is a method later in this chapter (for stubborn children) that will help with this.

• That they are super keen to get dressed and undressed without help. This is pretty self-explanatory. If you want your little one fully potty trained, that does involve them being able to pull up and down their own clothing to do so – if they are still struggling with this wait until they are really confident and want to be the one in charge of dressing time.

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Reference Source: Ultimate Guide to 3 Days Potty Training

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